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Skin-like hydrogel devices for wearable sensing, soft robotics and beyond

SummarySkin-like electronics are developing rapidly to realize a variety of applications such as wearable sensing and soft robotics. Hydrogels, as soft biomaterials, have been studied intensively for skin-like electronic utilities due to their unique features such as softness, wetness, biocompatibility and ionic sensing capability. These features could potentially blur the gap between soft biological systems and hard artificial machines. However, the development of skin-like hydrogel devices is still in its infancy and faces challenges including limited functionality, low ambient stability, poor surface adhesion, and relatively high power consumption (as ionic sensors). This review aims to summarize current development of skin-inspired hydrogel devices to address these challenges. We first conduct an overview of hydrogels and existing strategies to increase their toughness and conductivity. Next, we describe current approaches to leverage hydrogel devices with advanced merits including anti-dehydration, anti-freezing, and adhesion. Thereafter, we highlight state-of-the-art skin-like hydrogel devices for applications including wearable electronics, soft robotics, and energy harvesting. Finally, we conclude and outline the future trends.Graphical abstractDownload : Download high-res image (129KB)Download : Download full-size image


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